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The BEST nations for women

Last updated on: September 30, 2011 12:53 IST

The BEST nations for women

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A woman is treated most respectfully in countries like Iceland and Sweden, according to a recent survey conducted by Newsweek.

The survey, conducted among 165 nations, listed nations which were the 'Best place to be a Woman in'.

The list "highlights not only where women are enjoying relative freedom and access to human rights and justice, but also where deficiencies remain", says Newsweek.

The magazine chalked out the rankings after analysing data across five fields -- justice, health, education, economics, and politics. Each nation was given a score between 0 and 100 based on their performance in that category.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Iceland, Rank: 1

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In recent years, this Scandinavian nation has been named the best place to live on earth, the happiest nation and the safest one as well.

Not surprisingly, Iceland is the best nation for women and it manages to get an unbelievable overall score of 100.

Led by the strong-willed Johanna Siguroardottir, Iceland even has a special government agency to ensure that women's rights are protected.

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Image: A woman holds a placard during a peaceful protest near Iceland's Parliament house in Reykjavik
Photographs: Ints Kalnins/Reuters
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Sweden, Rank: 2

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Sweden ranks exceptionally high in fields like life expectancy, public health, education etc. It gets 94.8 and 95.5 in the categories of health and education respectively.

Newsweek points out that though Sweden has impressive policies like 16-month paid leave for both parents after a child is born, the levels of domestic violence are still high.

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Image: A couple smile during their wedding ceremony at Humlegarden park in Stockholm
Photographs: Bob Strong/Reuters
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Canada, Rank: 3

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Canada is not only one of few non-European countries to make it to the top ten list, but it is the only non-European country to figure in the top five.

Canada scores 100 in the field of justice. But Newsweek states that women's representation in politics and law-making was not as high as expected.

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Image: A Toronto woman shields her face from the sun
Photographs: Reuters
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Denmark, Rank: 4

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Denmark, considered to be the world's least corrupt country, also has the highest rate of income equality.

The country scores an impressive 97.6 in the field of education, but lags behind in the representation of women in the political arena.

Newsweek points out that as many as 78 per cent women work outside their homes in Denmark.

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Image: A Danish fan with a painted face smiles before a match
Photographs: Reuters
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Finland, Rank: 5

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Yet another Scandinavian nation finds itself among the top five best places for women. Finland boasts of a whopping score of 100 in women's participation in politics.

Finland was also the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote and run for political office, adds Newsweek.

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Image: A woman smells samples of champagne in Mariehamn, Finland
Photographs: Jussi Nukari/Reuters
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Switzerland, Rank: 6

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Switzerland scores impressively in the filed of education but lags behind in participation of women in the political process, scoring 97.3 and 74.6 respectively in the two fields.

Incidentally, says Newsweek, the world's favourite holiday destination didn't give women the right to vote till as late as 1971!

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Image: A dancer parades a colourful costume while dancing to the beat of music in downtown Zurich during the annual street parade
Photographs: Georgios Kefalas/Reuters
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Norway, Rank: 7

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Norway has enjoyed the highest human index development ranking in the world for the last two years. The welfare state provides a successful programme of universal healthcare.

According to Newsweek, the country provides easy access to health services during pregnancy.

Norway scores a perfect 100 in the field of health but falls short in the category of education.

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Image: Supporters of Norway cheer during a match
Photographs: Petr Josek/Reuters
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United States, Rank: 8

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The oldest democracy in the world doesn't fare so well when it comes to ensuring a place for women in politics. US scores only 68.6 in the field of politics, but manages to get an impressive 97.3 in the category of women's education.

American girls are doing well in schools and colleges, says Newsweek, but adds that the country's health programmes are inferior compared to its European counterparts.

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Image: Women dress in the colours of the American national flag in Washington, DC
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
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Australia, Rank: 9

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Australia, led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, is the third and last non-European nation in the list. Ironically, Australia scores the lowest in the field of politics -- 65.1 -- in spite of having a woman at the helm of affairs.

One of the most sought after destinations for higher studies, Australia scores high in the fields of education as well as health.

But Newsweek says that according to the majority of Australians, women are still not treated equally down under.

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Image: Race-goers strike a pose before the running of the Melbourne Cup
Photographs: Mick Tsikas/Reuters
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Netherlands, Rank: 10

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Netherlands doesn't score as highly as other European nations in the fields of justice, economic and politics. But it scores an impressive 99 and 95 in the categories of education and health respectively.


Image: A woman at a vegetable market in Amsterdam
Photographs: Robin van Lonkhuijsen/Reuters
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